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On 24 July 2019 Ms Tatsiana Aliaksavana and her company Hanzo Limited (trading as Hanzo Design), both of London, were each convicted of four charges of the criminal offence of misusing the title ‘architect’.  The charges related to claims made on the Hanzo Design website and in its metadata.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard that Hanzo Design continued to promote its services as being provided by “experienced architects” despite having no architects at the practice, in breach of Section 20 of the Architects Act 1997.   The company continued to do so despite numerous warnings from ARB, the regulator of UK architects.

The magistrates imposed the maximum fine of £2,500 for each charge and a further £4,318 in costs and surcharges, creating a total of £24,318 to be paid within 28 days.  Giving their reasoning behind imposing the maximum fines available, the magistrates noted the offences included identity theft and posed a risk to public safety. They also noted the defendant’s reluctance to engage with ARB and their absence from court.

It is hoped that the criminal convictions, fines and the negative publicity associated with cases such as this will act as a deterrent for others who may use the title illegally.

In regulating misuse of the title ‘architect’ the objective of ARB is to limit the harm as swiftly and effectively as possible.  ARB will continue to monitor Hanzo Design’s trading style and take further appropriate action as necessary.

—ENDS—

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Notes for Editors

o ARB has a Board of 11 members all appointed by the Privy Council. This includes one independent, non-executive Chair and ten non-executive Board members made up of five members of the public and five architects.

o The Architects Registration Board (ARB) is the statutory body established by Parliament under the Architects Act 1997 to regulate the UK architects’ profession in the public interest. Among other duties, the Act requires ARB to:
– Maintain the Architects Register
– Prescribe the qualifications needed to become an architect in the UK
– Issue a code laying down the standards of professional conduct and practice expected of architects
– Investigate allegations of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence
– Investigate and where appropriate prosecute unregistered individuals who unlawfully call themselves an architect
– Act as the UK’s Competent Authority for architects

o The maximum fine for each offence, currently £2,500, is set by the Architects Act 1997. Magistrates determine the amount of the fine and related costs after considering the nature of the offence and any mitigation put forward by the defendant. Money raised from fines is paid to HM Treasury, not to ARB.

o ARB’s Misuse of Title Policy can be found on our website here.

For further information, please contact Kate Howlett, Communications Lead, on 020 7580 5861 or by email at kateh@arb.org.uk

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